Brian Curran

Dr. Brian Curran in Rome, with obelisk at the Spanish Steps. June 2013.
Dr. Brian Curran in Rome, with obelisk at the Spanish Steps. June 2013.

Professor of Art History

Contact: 

203 Borland Building | University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-4886
bac18@psu.edu

Education: 

  • Ph.D. and M.A. in art and archaeology (Princeton University)
  • M.A. in art history (University of Massachusetts,Amherst)
  • B.F.A. in studio art (painting) and art history (Massachusetts College of Art, Boston)

Specialty Area: 

Italian Renaissance Art

Bio: 

Dr. Curran teaches courses in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art. He also teaches courses in historiography, antiquarianism, and the history and theory of sculpture. Before coming to Penn State in 1997, he was a Teaching Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University and a member of the curatorial staff in the Department of Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He has received numerous fellowships and grants, including a Samuel H. Kress Institutional Fellowship at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, the Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome, a research grant from the Renaissance Society of America, and a residential fellowship at the Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. Dr. Curran has published articles and reviews in The Art BulletinThe Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld InstitutesWord & ImageThe Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and Renaissance Quarterly. His books to date are The Egyptian Renaissance: The Afterlife of Ancient Egypt in Early Modern Italy, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007, andObelisk: A History (co-authored with Anthony Grafton, Pamela Long, and Benjamin Weiss), published in 2009 by the Dibner Library/MIT Press. He has also authored a number of book chapters and essays, including “The Renaissance Afterlife of Ancient Egypt (1400–1650)” in Tim Champion and John Tait, eds., Encounters with Ancient Egypt: The Wisdom of Egypt: Changing Visions Through the Ages (UCL Press, 2003); “The Sphinx in the City: Egyptian Memories and Urban Spaces in Renaissance Rome and Viterbo” in Stephen Campbell and Stephen Milner, eds., Artistic Exchange and Cultural Translation in the Italian Renaissance City (Cambridge University Press, 2004); “Obelisks in Ancient Egypt” in Helaine Selin, ed., Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures (2nd ed., Heidelberg: Springer, 2009); “Love, Triumph, Tragedy: Cleopatra and Egypt in Renaissance Rome” in Margaret M. Miles, ed.,Cleopatra: A Sphinx Revisited (University of California Press, 2011); and “The High Renaissance, Classicism, and Antiquity: Thoughts on a Tradition and Its Discontents” in Jill Burke, ed., Rethinking the High Renaissance(Ashgate, 2012). Dr. Curran is a recipient of the College of Arts and Architecture Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching, the President’s Award for Engagement with Students, and the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Curran’s current research is focused on an investigation of the “grammar of time and place” in Renaissance art. He is also working on several articles (and a projected volume) on the “social life of statues” from antiquity to the present day, as well as some investigations into the history and theory of various popular film genres. He presently serves as the editor of the Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, an annual scholarly journal published by the academy.